Arts / Dutch music prize goes to the first woman ever

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KATE Moore – ANU School of Music graduate and 2015 composer-in-residence at the Canberra International Music Festival – has won the Dutch Government’s €20,000 Matthijs Vermeulen prize for her composition, “The Dam”.


Winner of the Matthijs Vermeulen prize, Kate Moore. Photo Andrew Finch
Moore’s work was described by “CityNews” reviewer Judith Crispin at the time as “like a breath of fresh air”, and “The Dam” was commissioned by CIMF director Roland Peelman with the assistance of arts patron Betty Beaver and given its premiere at the opening gala of the 2015 festival.

The Dam has since been adapted and performed in UK and the Netherlands, where the composer has spent most of the past 15 years.

Music festival director Roland Peelman with arts patron Betty Beaver at the time of the commission. Photo by Andrew Finch
“The Dam is based on the rhythms of the sounds made by cicadas, crickets, frogs, birds, flies, spiders and other creatures that inhabit a waterhole in the bush,” Moore says.

“I am attracted to the almost but not quite polyrhythmic tapestry of sound they create.”

Moore, who also studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of music, focused on cello and piano in Canberra, studying with David Pereira and Larry Sitsky.

Her 2014 work “The Art of Levitation” was commissioned by Carnegie Hall, but she already had a swag of CDs to her name and a burgeoning career before that.

Excited music festival staff are saying: “Canberra and CIMF have played an important role in giving life to this work, and we can’t help but feel a sense of pride about the win.”

They point out that Moore is the first woman in the history of the award to be given this honour, whose past recipients include Louis Andriessen, Otto Ketting, Micha Mengelberg and Michel van der Aa.

Moore is presently premiering a new oratorium, “Sacred Environment”, as part of the Holland Festival. She will be presented with the Matthijs Vermeulen award in December during the “Dag in de Branding” Festival in The Hague.



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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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